Does Cinnamon Reduce Blood Glucose Levels? I Try it Out

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I have a family history of diabetes that I have been able to hold at bay – I think – through my low carb diet. My siblings both got rather severe cases in their early 40s, while I have been able to keep the number relatively low in comparison.

Despite the fact I do keep the carbs low, it still tends a bit above 100, which indicates pre-diabetes. It is easy to see when I indulge in high carb stuff, it can easily shoot up 40-50 points – though oddly, after a high-carb extravaganza, sometimes it goes DOWN.

I have a personal hypothesis about this. I think that the occasional high carb meal might ‘wake up’ a sluggish insulin response that hasn’t gotten much of a workout due to low carb intake for a period of time. The introduction of carbs after a period of low carb alerts a system that is NOT overstressed – and it performs its function. I’ll also note that if I were to do the high carb thing for a second day, that response is WAY less likely to work. It’s a sprinter, not a marathoner.

Of course, I don’t know what the hell I’m talking about, so I wouldn’t put much credence to the last paragraph. It’s just a working explanation I need to noodle around with further.

What I HAVE been playing with is the notion that cinnamon might increase insulin response. I’ve read that the stuff works in more than a couple of places, and if your insulin response is better, you have a better shot at losing weight. Here’s an example of the claim I got from a random site on a Google search – there’s plenty more:

The glucose levels were reduced by 18–29% following 40 days of treatment. Whereas the highest dose (6 g/day) produced the most rapid response, the lowest dose (1 g/day) produced the most sustained response, i.e., a continued reduction in glucose levels even at the 60-day point; the reduction observed was 16%. The two higher doses produced slightly lower sustained responses, and they were judged not to be statistically significant.

On September 20, 2011, I bought a huge container of your regular grocery store cinnamon. Then, just about every single weekday until November 10, 2011, I put at least 3 tablespoons in my yogurt. That’s a lot more than was recommended, as cinnamon has a compound in it that can cause liver and kidney damage in high concentrations, but I chose to ignore this (maybe I’m stupid).

So I took the stuff in this timeframe probably 38 times.

before starting it, an average of my blood glucose, taken with those store-brand test kits available in any pharmacy, between August 6 and September 19: 118.3

The average for the entire time on the stuff: 114.9

The average for the last calendar month on the stuff – between October 10 and November 10: 115.4

Regarding my diet during this time, it’s been more or less the same and my weight has moved in a 6 lb. range.

So, my highly unscientific study on myself showed there’s little point in adding cinnamon to my diet – except that the stuff is damn yummy in greek yogurt.

Now this is not to say that cinnamon does not work, but that it does not work, in any meaningful way, for me. It’s a personalized research, and while not formal science in any way, it does prove empirically – for whatever reason – it doesn’t do anything for me.

I think more science, especially surrounding nutrition, should be personalized like this.

4 thoughts on “Does Cinnamon Reduce Blood Glucose Levels? I Try it Out

  1. If you want to play around with supplements, try Magnesium. 800mg a day (400 with breakfast, 400 with dinner). Do that for two months and you’ll see results.

  2. On insulin and carbs. I lost a lot of weight (170# though I’ve regained over half) and at one point started getting reactive hypoglycemia even to zero carb meals. (Ignore the experts who say this can’t and doesn’t happen. My blood glucose monitor and repeat experience–and others with the same measured experience–I believe more.) Anyway it often happened with eggs.

    Then one day I was reading a Ray Peat article and he said that eggs are unusually insulinogenic, like super much. He said for insulin resistant people especially this is a big deal since they already have too much insulin response let alone in response to that. He actually suggested (seriously) fresh-squeezed orange juice (OMG talk about a carb fest!) along with eggs, to mitigate the blood sugar crash. To my astonishment (and others also trying it when I did), this actually worked. Wow, who knew. Course that kinda wipes out the carb limit thing…

    After 5 years of this (although my perspective is dismal for super-obese folks, as my blog post of this morning shows), I have however come to think that doing one day a week higher-carb (not crappy megacarb, but healthy just-higher carb), and one day a week fasting, with the others being genuinely LC (<40/day) is probably the ideal eating plan for a lot of people of any size, for a long list of reasons. The increase in carbs does seem to help anybody when they've been LC, the problem is that most people either overdo it and lose ketosis, or underdo and get no result, or do it with foods/ingredients that promptly send them face-down into offplan food.


    1. Hi Pj,

      Thanks for your response – and your blog. I’ve been reading through a number of post there. I didn’t know about insulinogenic foods – more research for me. And I think you might be right about having *some* carbs here and there. Keep up the thoughtful and insightful posts. You have something important to say.



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